When you live with peripheral nerve pain, it’s important that you practice good self-care. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest at night and keeping your body active. Not only can this give you some relief for nerve pain, but also it makes your body stronger and more resilient. This makes it easier to tolerate the symptoms of neuropathy.
The good old saying, “you are what you eat,” certainly rings true for neuropathy patients. Smart nutrition keeps the nerves healthy and decreases pain. Below are some of the top foods to avoid when you suffer from peripheral nerve pain and the reasons why.
Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are both linked to peripheral neuropathy. In fact, nerve pain may be the only symptom of gluten sensitivity! Knowing this, avoiding gluten is worth trying when you suffer from nerve pain. Avoiding gluten may even help with headaches, migraines and brain fog.
The school of thought is that if your body can’t digest gluten, it leads to inflammation in the body. This inflammation then swells the tissues around the nerves, causing pain. Gluten is most commonly found in breads, baked goods and pastas. Switch to gluten free and see if it helps your symptoms!
2. Artificial Sweeteners
People with neuropathy are instructed to avoid artificial sweeteners because they are neurotoxins that can cause additional damage to your nerves. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and others may reduce the natural sugar content in foods and beverages, but they can cause the body to react with an inflammatory response. Avoid diet sodas and other sugar-free products that contain added sugars.
3. Refined Grains
Processed grains have a high glycemic index, meaning that they increase blood sugar. When you have peripheral neuropathy, it’s important that you control your blood sugar to prevent further damage to the nerves. Therefore, refined grains like white bread, pizza, crackers and other snacks should be avoided. Instead, choose low-glycemic foods like fruits, green vegetables and beans.
4. Trans and Saturated Fats
These unhealthy fats are typically found in fatty meats and high-fat dairy products. When consumed in large amounts, this fat can lead to inflammation and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, both of which exacerbate neuropathy. Replace these high-fat foods with lean options like chicken and fish. Plus, these foods help manage a healthy weight, which also takes pressure off your nerves.
5. Salty Snacks
Foods that contain a lot of sodium can restrict blood flow, increasing neuropathy symptoms like numbness. Salt is snuck into a lot of our foods, so it’s important to read food labels. Limit or avoid bacon, cold cuts, canned entrees, frozen dinners, crackers, potato chips and fast food. The reason why these foods taste so good is because of the excess sodium!
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